Young trio remain with first-team ahead of new season

Arsenal play their first competitive match of the season, the Community Shield against Manchester City, on Sunday, yet there are still three young hopefuls training with the senior squad as the new campaign draws ever nearer.

Whilst the majority of the young professionals were back in the U21 set-up for the 6-4 victory over Forest Green Rovers yesterday, Damian Martinez, Ignasi Miquel and Hector Bellerin continued to train with Arsene Wenger’s squad at London Colney.

Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe

Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe

All three players possess a genuine chance of officially being promoted this Summer and the trio could all make the bench for the game at Wembley.

Martinez, having impressed in pre-season, looks set to be named as the club’s third-choice goalkeeper for the new campaign. He may even start the season as temporary back-up to Wojciech Szczesny if new signing David Ospina doesn’t recover from injury in time.

Miquel provides cover at centre-back, a position in which the first-team are considerably light at present. Per Mertesacker is not yet back from holiday and Thomas Vermaelen looks likely to leave the club, with Laurent Koscielny and Calum Chambers both likely to start in the heart of the defence against City.

Nacho Monreal is another, albeit very unconvincing, option in that position, but Miquel will be hopeful that his time to impress has finally arrived.

Bellerin’s future was cast into some doubt following the acquisition of Chambers, but, with the former Southampton player being utilised at centre-back for now, the path is clear for Bellerin to be the primary back-up to Mathieu Debuchy at right-back.

All three players are likely to partake in tomorrow’s open training session at Emirates Stadium. If Martinez and Miquel, as seems likely, remain at the club, then they would both have to take up a place in the club’s 25-man Premier League squad for the new season. No such restrictions apply to Bellerin.




  1. As it stands I think those 3 are almost a given for promotion. Even if vermaelen goes, that frees up 1 space in the 25 and I think that will go to a Dm rather than a Cb.

    However, I still think there could be some deals happening right up to the deadline, with rumours surrounding arteta and vermaelen (both in their last year) and monreal with question marks hanging over the.long term futures of miquel, coquelin, diaby, flamini, rosicky and ryo who are all in their last year too.

    In an ideal world we would have a settled squad, but having said that, if you take those 9 out of the picture, our starting x1 is pretty much unaffected and a squad of 22 players is still in place. Leaving room for 9 more players in the 25, some of which will be the 9 mentioned earlier, but also the potential for some exciting new additions, if not this year then next.

    Szczesney ospina martinez
    Debuchy bellerin
    Mertesacker koscielny chambers
    Wilshire Ramsey chambers zelalem
    Ozil cazorla chamberlain
    Walcott gnabry
    Campbell podolski
    Sanchez giroud

  2. One can see that Miquel is a top top professional, a genuinely top bloke but he lacks some crucial aspects to his game like decision making, and has very bad acceleration. I would LOVE to see him improve, but my hopes are slim.

  3. Miquel is very much like vermalen. Great for the most part, technically gifted for a defender but has a habbit of rendering all his good work useless by committing a disastrous error. I wouldn’t mind if he’s made vermalen’s replacement (possibly monreal’s too) and see how he does.

    Having said that there’s no denying Hayden’s performances merit a crack in the near future. I suppose the point of contention would be whether that’s as a cb or a dm. He’s always performed well at cb but progressing really well as a dm and with the imminent retirement/departure of Arteta and flamini we will need a dm as soon as next year, even if we get one this year. Really like chambers as a cb at this point so would keep him there for now. He’s very intelligent which is indispensable for a cb, which would IMO make him the ideal successor to mertesaker.

    Let’s see how things pan out though. We’re all just speculating, which is these days usually to the point of fantasising! Wenger and the coaches see them on a much more regular basis so will obviously have a much more informed opinion.

  4. Miquel is shit. Lets compare to someone else who hasn’t played in the same spot for a few years. Chambers did it after like 2 year+ not doing a single CB match in the same spot. Miquel is doing so for all his years. He didn’t even look half as good as Chambers who mainly play RB. I don’t know what people are watching because I saw mistakes every other time Miquel touched the ball.

    I am pretty sure Hayden is better in the same position. Miquel will end up in spain second league at best. Same goes to Coquelin who will end up in a bottom team in EPL or Spain or France.

    Zelalem is good for a youngsters. But I am not sure he actually deserve to be training with the first team regularly. I don’t see the huge gap between him and a few other youngsters in the team. I am pretty sure Crowley, toral, olsson, maitland niles, Akpom, hayden, Willock and maybe 1-2 more are in the same level as him. For me you have to be as good as Gnabry who was able to change games when he played for the first team.

    Also I have a reply to @Atid who think my statistics from other loans are useless.

    Since it is rocket science to you. Yes we have loan more players in england than any other country but for those who have been on loan somewhere else, the loans have been more successful. The stats don’t lie. Its not like we have only loan 5-6 youngsters outside england. Lower league teams play more ruthless and that is not something I just come up with. Add that to an already proven more physical league in england and you have a very touch situation as a youngster. Youngsters are proven to be more prone to injuries simply because they are weaker for the most part. Holland, spain and germany all play a much more technical football which suits our style and youngsters a lot more. In the long run it will actually help their development. For those who are willing to spend their time somewhere else without friends and family.. I am sure they will mature faster and realize the hard work faster too. My arguments baseless because there are far more loans in england? Thats simply stupid statements. Hopefully Jonker tries to convince youngsters go outside england and you will see they will get plenty of more time on the pitch. England is simply shit for loans of our youngsters.

    1. Agree with you for most part, many of our players would gain little, rarely play and be at unacceptably high risk of injury in our lower leagues, especially below championship.

      However, for a few of them it seems a massive opportunity is being missed on both sides not to play there. I’m thinking of the inevitable five or six who are on the fringes each year with our youth sides and the fact some lower league clubs are struggling massively to put teams together.

      Yesterday I read about Tranmere’s struggles a few years ago, so bad they were had rules tea bags had to be used for four cups (!!!) and were regularly seeing players choose non-league over them because the wages were better. They were league one then; this year, Blackpool have yet to put a squad together in the championship because of money. Seems mad to me that guys like Lipman and even, if pre-season’s an indicator, Jebb, aren’t desperate to play somewhere like that, with both sides, us and them, keen to see it happen.

      It may well be the strongest indication of two great ills in the game : many young players at big clubs don’t understand how precarious their position is and how hard the fight will be to make it; and lower league clubs are unwilling to give technical football a chance and technical footballlers a bit of time to develop.

      1. Good find on the book – it is Michael Calvin.

        Chambers looks like a real find. Interesting that the club has been tracking him for that long.

  5. Jeorge, still grateful for the work of the site and thought I’d recommend a book which might be interesting/useful : The Nowhere men, Patrick Calvin.

    It’s about scouts so there is tons about youth football and quite a lot about Arsenal, including a big section with Pat Holland, an Arsenal scout at the time.

    Some highlights so far are Arsenal baulking at 2 million price for Shaw when he was 15/16, and Holland talking about how Chambers, 16/17 at that point, is the one who interests him more of the two. Also a fantastic story about a trick Rowley our chief scout played on Holland when he was new to club. Oh, and a mention of Arsenal laying on a game at Highbury especially for Wilshere when they were persuading him to join. He was 9!

    A cliche, but I’ll never look at the game in same way again after reading it.

    Give it a go any of you obsessed with footy and Arsenal- I assume that’s all of you!

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